barrel tasting in the caves at the Del Dotto estate in Rutherford. Our cases of wine purchased during that trip are shipping this week so we featured a couple of Del Dotto Napa Bordeaux varietals to commemorate that tasting, and to make room for the Del Dotto due to arrive this week.
We enjoyed a broad flight of five wines that maintained a consistent theme of bold, bright expressive tangy spice fruits accented by cedar and eucalyptus notes that perfectly matched the tangy barbecue dinner, and pecan and pumpkin pie desserts. The progressive flight built in intensity, then complexity, then closing on the consistent harmonious theme.
Domaine Serene Evenstad Reserve Pinot Noir 2005
Dark garnet opaque color, medium bodied, black berry, black raspberry and black cherry fruits with notes of violet, dusty rose, hints of earthy leather, spice, clove and whisper of white pepper, medium to tart acidity, moderate tannins on the medium finish. Still holding at a dozen years but slight bricking on the edges indicates this is at the end of just beyond its prime drinking window and will continue to decline here forward.
RM 91 points.
Clarendon Hills Baker's Gully Shiraz 2003
Del Dotto were one of the first producers to bottle Cabernet Franc as a standalone bottling. This is a great wine to keep on hand for special pairing with food highlighting the distinctive characteristics of this varietal.
Like the other wines tasted, this one too at fifteen year is aging very nicely and still holding well within its drinking window. Consistent with earlier tasting notes, dark garnet color, full bodied, bright cinnamon spice, raspberry, hint of cedar and mocha on a big, long silky smooth tannin finish.
Del Dotto "The David" Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend 2002
Consistent with my tasting notes five years ago, now in its fifteenth year, this was still vibrant and lively but will likely not improve further with age. Dark garnet colored, full bodied and bold, complex and concentrated, the Rutherford fruit shows through as the expressive full forward black berry and black cherry fruits predominating with accents of cassis, spice box and Mayacamas cedar / eucalyptus tones. That Del Dotto craftsmanship of layered oak and hints of mocha are apparent on a long soft, plush, layered fine tannin finish.
RM 93 points.
Robert Parker gave this 94 points in his 02/05 review of this wine when he wrote: "The flagship wine, the 2002 David, is a 400-case blend of 59% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, and 19% Cabernet Franc. The wine has tremendous density and a gorgeously perfumed nose of cedar, spice box, black cherries, and cassis. Opaquely colored, deeply flavored, and rich, with chocolatey ,currant flavors, a savory texture, and a persistent palate, it will drink well for 7-8 years."
Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1989
This bottle actually showed and tasted better than my earlier review a couple years ago. Like the other wines, this one showed the same consistent style and profile as with my earlier tasting notes, when I wrote, "At twenty six years, this was showing its age in the rust brickish color showing on the edges. Muted upon opening, the expressive signature layers of 'silver' oak emerged and amplified over the course of the evening. The slightly astringent acidic black berry fruit was punctuated by a layer of leather, earthy tobacco leaf and black tea before giving way to the layer of oak that permeated the finish. This was a special bottle that showed its heritage and terroir well."
RM 90 points.
Notable too is that Dr Dan brought two exquisite bottles for our dinner - Joseph Phelps Backus 2010 and a Sea Smoke Sea Spray 2012, anticipating a grilled steak dinner, which was the original plan. We cellared these and we'll enjoy them together at a future tasting dinner.